Sen. Sylvia Allen, who represents Rim Country, has proposed a controversial bill critics say would “gut” the state’s open meeting laws that require lawmakers at all levels to debate and make public policy in open, public meetings.

The introduction of Allen’s SB 1435 with 13 legislative co-sponsors comes on the heels of a series of controversies about legislative efforts to keep meetings, public records and other once-public matters private.

Other actions by the Legislature this year already include a decision to close to the public Republican
Caucus meetings where the fate of many bills is decided and bills that would exempt from freedom of information act access things like the address of lawmakers, addresses of judges, the names of police officers involved in shooting civilians and lottery winners.

In addition, staffers for newly elected Gov. Doug Ducey announced last week that they will now keep secret scheduling information that made it possible to determine who scheduled meetings with the governor in his office.

Sen. Allen’s SB 1435 would likely have the most sweeping impact of any of those efforts to curtail public access to meetings and information.

David Bodney, an attorney and partner at Ballard and Spahr, said the bill would invite a “rigging of the process.” He added, “it really eviscerates the whole purpose of the open meeting law, the public would be left with nothing more than a voting record.”


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